“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably leads nowhere.” – Albert Einstein
Injuries are unfortunately a reality of sport. When you are training hard, trying new things, or pushing your limits, your body can break down. How you handle these obstacles has a huge impact on the duration of your recovery and the possibility of recurring injuries in the future. Use the tips below to manage injury in a healthy way.
Focus on what you can do
The beauty of our sport is that it has three disciplines, leaving a plethora of workout options to choose from. Since the majority of triathlon injuries are running related, use this time to do a swim or bike block, and put energy toward what your body can still do in the midst of healing. Instead of dwelling on what you can’t do, an optimistic mind frame will allow you to continue with a modified training program, while maintaining fitness.
Tip: The cross trainer is a great substitute for run training. Keep your arms swinging at your side to closely simulate your run form. Try this workout below:
- 15 minute warm up building from easy to moderate
- 5x 4 minutes at “tempo” effort with 1 minute easy between intervals
- 5×2 minutes at “threshold” (harder than above) effort with 30 seconds easy between intervals
- 10 minute cool down
Let others help you
When you are caught up in injury, your emotions may blind you from doing the right thing. Put your trust in someone- a coach, mentor, friend, therapist or training partner, to give you their honest thoughts on your injury situation. It is best to communicate with a physiology specialist who will have experience dealing with injuries, and have the knowledge to understand what you need. Athletes don’t always do the best job at listening to their bodies, so an objective evaluation from an outside source can help immensely with the onset of injury.
Tip: Massage or regular treatment is extremely important for injury prevention. Someone once told me that as expensive as treatment can be, it is often even more expensive when you are injured (medical visits, X-Rays, MRI’s, surgery etc.). Find a system that works for you—even if training is going well and you aren’t experiencing any problems, treatment is always important as a precautionary measure.
Have a plan and stick to it
Having an injury doesn’t mean you can’t go about your daily training routine, it just needs to be tweaked a bit. Come to terms with the fact that your weekly volume and/or intensity may go down, but you can still maintain fitness and continue moving forward. Injuries can be puzzling, as symptoms waver over the course of a couple days and you may feel completely normal at times. Avoid rushing back to your pre-injury work load, and hone in on a recovery plan that you derive with a coach and/or therapist.
Tip: Incorporate some different physical activities into your schedule that you may not have the time for when your training is up to speed. As long as it doesn’t aggravate your injury, these can get your heart rate up and give you a mental break from your normal training. Some examples are yoga, hiking, kayaking or cross-country skiing.